Introduction: Creating a Mentoring Network
The world of work is changing at a dizzying pace. The way we perform our work is also changing. Automation is contributing to all the changes, and the pace of automation will continue to accelerate. The concept of mentoring is changing. And why wouldn’t it? Because of flattened organization structures, employees are expected to do more with less resources, resulting in less resources for mentoring programs.
Although both mentors and mentees benefit from mentoring programs, it can be disastrous when people are forced into these programs. People have to be given the choice whether they opt into such programs. Welcome to the age of the Mentoring Network!
Traditional Mentorship Program:
In this type of mentoring program, an older, more experienced mentor, supports the less experienced mentee, to help and support her career. Studies by Catalyst reports that having a sponsor is more beneficial to a woman, than a mentor. The difference between a sponsor and a mentor is that the sponsor usually chooses the mentee, so you have to find a way to gain their attention. Traditional mentorship/sponsorship programs are beneficial to a mentee because the mentor/sponsor is able to prepare the mentee to advance within the organization via:
- Opening doors.
- Providing challenging and stretch assignments.
- Protecting them.
- Offering exposure and visibility that can make a difference in a career.
- Role modeling of appropriate behavior in the workplace. This is way to quickly learn the unwritten rules inside an organization.
These are the elements that employees need to succeed in the workplace. But this kind of mentoring program is more exclusive and elitist, and not many people within an organization will be able to participate.
For other mentoring models, please read “Adventures in Learning: DIY Mentoring Program, Episode Two.” The issue with the other types of mentoring programs, is that even though they yield many benefits, they are not the ones mentioned that are critical to success. With the other mentoring models, you have to work harder to achieve success in the workplace. But the good thing about these models is that they are less exclusive and more people can participate.
UPDATE: First Published in November 2015
Components of Great Mentoring Relationships
For any mentoring relationship to work, the right match is important. A good mentoring match involves:
- Common factors/interests/styles, so mentor/mentee can connect
- Negotiation skills
- Working through power and control issues
- No political agenda on the part of the mentor
At the beginning of the post, I mentioned that mentoring programs are changing, and they should. Today, we have a mentoring network. The aim of this type of mentoring, is to get more people involved. Many people have recognized that one mentor is not enough, because he or she cannot support you in all the ways you need to achieve success, therefore a mentoring network is the answer.
According to Randall P. White:
“A diversified portfolio can cover a fuller spectrum of mentoring needs.
Different mentors bring different ideas.
Guards against a single vested interest by a mentor.
One mentor cannot sustain a whole career.
A mentoring network can create an alliance of resources across levels, business units, and over time.”
Source: Dr. Randall P. White, Founding Partner, Executive Development Group LLC
Have you read?
Final Thoughts: Creating a Mentoring Network
A mentoring network is like a personal advisory board. Because I am an entrepreneur, I am focusing on advisory board/mentoring network form of mentoring programs. I have already written about this, so please read the following. If you decided to create a mentoring network, who would you want in it? Make sure that you include people both inside and outside your organization.
Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the WorldOne Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor–And Why You’ll Benefit from Being OneGetting There: A Book of MentorsThe Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success